We're excited to take another look behind the curtain of one of NYC's chic editors – you know, those ladies (and a few gentlemen) who have the enviable job of handpicking amazing gems and jewels to feature in your favorite magazines. You have to figure: if they see the best of the best on a daily basis, they've got to have some inside info we'd be interested in. And rest assured, the Israeli-born Talya Cousins is full of great tips on delicious food, thought-provoking writers and under-the-radar designers. With a resume that includes eight years working as an editor for Conde Nast – most recently at W Magazine, where she was the senior jewelry and accessories editor – today she contributes to various publications like Departures, Robb Report, Bloomberg and Martha Stewart Weddings. Plus, she is working with the CFDA where she co-initiated (with Simon Alcantara) its first jewelry showcase with the goal of celebrating American jewelry design today. With all that said, we trust her taste. You will too.
Let’s have dinner at your favorite neighborhood restaurant. Where do we go and what do we eat?
I adore everything about Café Mogador in the East Village. It’s run by a husband and wife team, who like me, grew up in a Kibbutz in Israel. It reminds me of home. My favorite dish is their Grilled Merguez over Basmati Rice with lots of ‘Schug’ (homemade hot sauce).
If you could buy any piece of contemporary jewelry from another jeweler, what would it be?
So many pieces take my breath away.
Among my favorites are Muriel Grateau hand-carved rings. I also love her porcelain work.
The vacation spot that you keep going back to over and over?
Islesboro, Maine. To get there you have to take one (sometimes two) flights, rent a car and book a ferry but it’s very much worth the trouble. Having the ocean as the backyard and visiting with our close friends never gets old.
What’s the last book you couldn’t put down?
I’m a poetry lover– ‘Map’, which is a collection of Wislawa Szymborska’s, is one of my new favorites.
Secret/favorite spot for cocktails at a trade show (and what’s your go-to drink?)
My in-laws live in Vegas so during shows I try to escape the strip and meet them at one of their local hangouts. We often go to a low-key Thai place called Lotus of Siam for Tito’s & Tonic –which pretty much goes with anything on the menu.
The gemstone you’re currently lusting after is . . .
Color changing Alexandrite ranging from slightly bluish green to raspberry red depending on the time of day.
It’s your birthday and your favorite flower arrangement arrives – what does it look like?
I love wild flower arrangements especially ones that include Anemones.
You have 30 minutes to work out – what do you do?
Go for a run in Riverside Park in the mornings when dogs are permitted to roam without a leash.
What was the first piece of jewelry you bought for yourself?
An antique miniature spoon pendant with a hidden locket purchased in Woodstock, NY.
If you could have dinner with any artist, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Jiddu Krishnamurti. He was brave, kind and wise.
What's the most sentimental piece of jewelry you own and tell us the backstory.
My engagement ring, which my husband surprised me with while we were traveling in Europe. It was designed by our friend Sharon Khazzam using his grandmother’s center stone: A pear shaped diamond set on its side.
What’s your preferred mode of transportation day-to-day?
Vespa. We ride it from early March till the first snowflake falls.
Top 5 bands in your playlist - go!
The family of the year
Ha’Chaverim Shel Natascha
You’re having guests for the weekend. What’s your signature dish that you cook for them?
There is nothing I’d rather do on weekends than cook for my friends and family. Recently, we’ve been having people over for long leisurely breakfasts. I normally place a large bowl of homemade olive oil granola and fresh berries on the table so everyone can help themselves and then make individual bowls of Sorrel infused rice with a spicy poached egg on top. (The dish is inspired by the menu at Sqirl, LA)
Be honest – who’s your celebrity crush?!
If you could only carry one handbag for the rest of your life, what would it be?
I’m an avid hiker so if I had to pick just one, it would have to be a backpack. Perhaps one day Chanel and REI would collaborate on a solar paneled backpack. A girl can dream…
What’s your signature scent and what three words would you use to describe it?
My aunt Jacqueline, who passed away when I was 9, wore a musky delicate perfume and that mixed with the scent of freshly-baked baguettes she’d make for us remained my favorite scent.
If you could sit front row at any fashion show, which would it be and why?
I got very lucky and a few years ago I was invited to attend the Couture shows in Paris. The Chanel show was my favorite. I was blown away by the love and care that was poured into making the garments and the elegant way in which the clothes were presented to the clients.
Tell us your beauty secrets (think: can’t-live-without makeup and skincare).
Signature nail polish and/or lipstick shade for a night on the town?
What beauty/health/apothecary product can you not live without?